Challenge Cup: Sheffield Eagles withdraw with player welfare 'overriding factor'

Sheffield Eagles
Sheffield Eagles won the inaugural 1895 Cup – a competition for clubs outside Super League – by beating Widnes at Wembley in 2019

Championship club Sheffield Eagles have withdrawn from this season’s Challenge Cup, citing player welfare concerns.

The 1998 winners were scheduled to face top-flight side Hull FC in the last 16.

Super League fixtures will recommence on 2 August but league seasons in the second and third tiers will not resume because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Challenge Cup is scheduled to restart during the weekend of 22-23 August, with the final being played at Wembley on 17 October.

“Player welfare was the overriding factor in exiting this competition,” said a club statement.external-link

“Super League sides will have played three rounds before the next stage of the cup was due to take place compared to over five months since our last competitive fixture.

“It was felt it wasn’t safe to compete, and to do so would risk serious injury to our players.”

Sheffield were one of five clubs from outside the top division to reach the last 16 of this season’s competition.

It was confirmed earlier this month that Toronto Wolfpack had withdrawn from the Challenge Cup and would not play any further part in Super League in 2020 because of the “overwhelming financial challenges” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheffield have also confirmed they will not be participating in a competition proposed by the Rugby Football League for Championship and League One teams in the autumn, saying the “financial burden placed on the club to do so would have been severe”.


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